Thursday, August 09, 2007

This Robot, Does it do Laundry?

In Transit to Tokyo. You said it.

It seems like a glamorous sort of undertaking. Maybe all digital and brightly colored.

But in actuality it's a bit more like this:

Goodbye Sad DC.

And hello Chicago, again, and just as quickly, goodbye.

It's hard, with this type of travel to not slip into a state of utter confusion. Airports are ugly places. Travel is dangerous. I remained calm and sunk into my business class seat, listened to music, read a book, drank some sake and slept like the baby jesus for about six hours.

And just like that. It's hard to not be awake and at full tilt when you arrive in Japan. Everything is shiny, nothing makes sense and you feel like you stick out like a freak because you do and you are.

But things tend to wind down on the hour long trip into the city from the airport. Traditionally someone grabs the little tour bus microphone and sings Neil Diamond while the Japanese interpreters blush and giggle, or pretend like you aren't there at all. After 14 hours everyone gets a little crazy.

At about 45 miuntes in I was harassing Tim about his new haircut.

And tryed to emulate his facial hair with a sticker that I found. In retrospect I am a child. It's still a little funny though.

Tokyo, from my sweet corner room at the ANA.

Like most hotel toilets (or the nice ones anyway) mine has a bidet and butt-washing device built-in. Our old tour manager Stevie was so enamored by it once that he seriously looked into importing one to Glasgow to put in his apartment. It somehow involved a 25 lb transformer and lots of Japanese instructions. I wonder if he ever got it together. Anyways, most everyone in our touring party was really turned off by the magic toilet. I side with Stevie on this one. It's a cool machine that washes your butt for free. This is the modern age. What's not to like? Also, you can put a piece of tape over the sensor, push the bidet button and hose down anyone who walks through the door, or so I hear.

The following day I took the train to Akihabara, the crazy little electronics district. I didn't really buy anything, but as usual saw some pretty crazy stuff. I did come away with a neat power remote (not unlike the clapper) that I plan on using frequently when I am bed-ridden. A few years back I found a cell phone blocker for sale and tested it on James' cell phone as he was talking to his fiance in Leeds. His signal died and he had to switch his phone off and back on. It took about ten minutes for it to work again. He wasn't very happy at all, and even though I claimed that the experiment was in the name of science he still didn't talk to me for the rest of the day. There were lots of new-fangled stun guns, fake i-pods (called o-pods) and hidden microphone detectors for sale this time. There are also tons of bits and pieces. I had planned on making a robot of some sort. Maybe a tour manager robot that shrugs its shoulders and says 'i don't know, i don't know' in a metallic, robot voice. That's a joke.

Then a group of us went over to Shibuya for dinner and a brief stop in Tokyu Hands. It's just sort of what you do. It's hard to deny the Japanese Ikea and all of it's wonderful art supplies. Shibuya was mobbed with the after work crowd. Lots of drunken business men lying face down, and school girls slumped against lamp posts. Precious.

Then it was off to The Quattro to see Dinosaur Jr. (or Scheidasaur Jr. as my friend David Scheid is tour managing them). It was great.

The crowd was really into it, and bouncing around. They were held back by bits of barricade tied together with string. Suffice to say that they were remarkably well behaved.

Oh, and it was loud too. J had 3 or so Marshall stacks as well as a Fender Twin pointed directly at his head. That explains the hair.

This is Scheid tossing a setlist to a particularly rabid bunch after the show. They kept screaming 'aset-uhlist' until he threw it to them. Afterwards he mumbled something under his breath about why people can't just go home and type one up themselves.

Today I'm off to work. Our production day for Summersonic. Show tomorrow. I have been up at 6am every day, and asleep before 11pm every night (partially because of jet lag, but also because I keep trying to watch Transformers the movie). Let's hope that I can buck this little trend.